Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Apple's 2014 won't be like 2013,Why?

It's not just about the next hit product. Apple is preparing for a future beyond phones, tablets, watches and TVs, in which it's the premium brand for life in a fully digital age.

Hundreds of people await the iPhone 5S and 5C launch at Apple's Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan.

As 2013 draws to a close, Tim Cook is feeling good. The holiday quarter once again proved that Apple's products and stores can draw a crowd. Pent-up demand for new iPhones and iPads was satisfied once again, and Apple's reputation as a purveyor of objects of desire was reaffirmed. As a reward, Apple' stock price hit a 52-week high this month.
Apple's precision-engineered, meticulously designed, mass-produced objects of desire are not the most advanced or clever computing machines. Many Android devices are tricked out with more pixels and features. Nor is Apple the undisputed market share leader, which is not the company's first priority.
After its initial breakthrough product and domination of the market, Apple cedes share to followers and carves out a highly profitable niche. Like BMW in the automotive industry, Apple is not trying to blanket the market. The Android platform now maintains the majority market share by far, especially outside the US, but for contestants other than Samsung the profits are slim or none. And, Apple's mobile platform, iOS, accounts for more than 50 percent of mobile Internet usage, according to Net Market Share research.
Mobile and tablet worldwide market share of operating system usage for November 2013. Net Market Share collects browser data from a worldwide network of over 40,000 websites. (Credit: Net Market Share)

In the coming year, Apple will continue its wash, rinse, repeat cycle, incrementally refreshing the iPads, iPhones, and Macs with more speed, less weight, longer battery life, additional sensors, and improved apps.
There are also hints that 2014 won't be another year of just incremental improvements like 2013. Apple could reveal something more dramatic and groundbreaking than adding a fingerprint sensor to an iPad or delivering iPhones and iPads with bigger screens and better cameras, or finally shipping the powerful R2-D2- looking Mac Pro.
It's been four years since the company's last market-defining product, the iPad, was unveiled. Here's what Steve Jobs said at the time: "iPad is our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price. iPad creates and defines an entirely new category of devices that will connect users with their apps and content in a much more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before."
Apple is rumored to be working on several products that could be eventually pitched as the "most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price." According to reports, Apple has in excess of 100 people working on an "iWatch." The company has trademarked the iWatch name around the world, and has filed 79 patents containing the word "wrist."
Neptune's Pine is among the upstarts trying to lead the next wave of wearable computing. (Credit: Neptune)
Following its usual product strategy, Apple isn't rushing to market to join the pack. Pebble, Samsung, Sony, ZTE, Martian Fitbit, Basis, Neptune, Metawatch, Qualcomm already have wrist wearables in the market, and LG, Google, and even Dell might be working on similar products. No one so far has a hit product. Apple hopes that an iWatch can follow the same pattern as the iPod, iPhone and iPad -- not the first in its category, but the one that redefines a market and dominates it for the first phase of adoption.
That will be a far more difficult challenge than in the past with all the innovative startups chasing the dream. And, the bar is set much higher for Apple.
It may be that an iWatch will focus on a few apps, such as health and fitness, and serve as more of an accessory to the iPhone. You don't have to take it out of your pocket to browse alerts and other information or talk to Siri. An iWatch with a beautifully curved, sapphire touch screen and sleek band would be more fashion statement than game-changing product.
In fact, Apple is on a mission to become more fashion forward. The company added two major fashion industry icons to its executive ranks. Former Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve joined as a vice president to work on "special projects," and Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts was tapped to lead retail operations, managing the online store and more than 520 brick-and-mortar outlets.
Apple TV user interface concept.
(Credit: Andrew Ambrosino)
That enhanced fashion IQ could be applied to a range of entertainment products, another area that Apple wants to transform. The company could launch a stylish, large-screen 4K TV with Apple TV built-in or a set-top box this year, accompanied by apps that plug into iOS ecosystem and take the pain out of managing and controlling what's on the screen or in the box.
Apple is also working with automobile companies to integrate features like Siri, Apple Maps, and iTunes into the built-in displays of cars.
One Apple patent describes a head-mounted goggle system for providing a personal media viewing experience. The goggles could be linked to a devices, such as computers, televisions, smartphones, and gaming systems.
(Credit: USPTO)
And, don't be surprised is you start hearing rumblings about eyewear from Apple. The company has many patents for head-mounted displays and other technologies relevant to augmenting-reality devices like the Oculus Rift and Google Glass. Apple will play the tortoise to Google's hare, watching the landscape evolve and taking its time to create a more perfect device that will attract tens of millions of buyers.
What's becoming clear is that Apple isn't just focused on trying to create another hit product. The company has long been preparing for a future in which technology is deeply woven into the fabric of everyday life. It's about creating an experience and brand that represents the best of the digital future.
iPhones, tablets, watches, glasses, TVs, sensors, robots, and cars are vehicles for enabling Apple's software and services to flourish. It's about becoming the premium brand for living in a fully digital age, in which billions of people and tens of billions of objects gathering and sending signals are connected.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

iPhone 5s Rumors

It's inevitable... but when will it happen? The rumor roundup for Apple's next iPhone starts now.
iPhone 5S: Will it look the same as the iPhone 5?

iPhone rumors are like flies at a summer picnic: they're nearly unstoppable. Collected in one batch are all the iPhone 5S/6 rumors CNET has reported so far, with some commentary on where these rumors came from.
We always have long wish lists for newer features and further redesigns, but the bottom line is this: nobody knows exactly what we'll get until Tim Cook reveals it on stage later this year.
That said, we've got plenty of educated guesses. But before we get started:

When will we get it:

Odds are strong that the immediate successor to the iPhone 5 will debut in September or October-- the last two iPhones were announced within the same window.
The release will all but certainly coincide with the availability of iOS 7 and the new phone's design should follow the iPhone 5's.
Beyond those obvious notes, the areas that seem most ripe for updating on the "iPhone 5S" would be the resolution of the cameras. And now that there's a 128GB iPad, maybe there will finally be a 128GB iPhone option, too.
What we don't know:
Everything else is pretty much a crapshoot. A bigger screen? CEO Tim Cook says no -- but saying one thing and doing the opposite would hardly be a first for Apple. Beyond a screen size change, though, Apple could also go with a different technology -- say, Igzo or OLED.
There are plenty of other unknowns, too. Will there be another iPhone that debuts with a fall model? Could the iPhone product line split into several differently sized models? Will an affordable "new" budget-line iPhone emerge? Will Apple finally add NFC to the iPhone, as part of a new mobile payments scheme? Anything could happen. Or not.

Microsoft shows Amazing 3D monitor that responds to touch

Presenting tomorrow's touchscreen displays. Microsoft has shown off a 3D monitor that, thanks to some sorcery, is able to give real haptic feedback to whoever touches it. The haptic feedback on the monitor isn't a simple vibration that lets you know you've touched it. Instead, it mimics the feedback you would get when touching the object in the real world. Microsoft demonstrated this with cubes made of different materials on the monitor. Touching the stone cube would result in the same hardness as a real stone, while touching a sponge cube made the monitor softer. 

Microsoft has explained this on its Research blog. According to the blog, haptic technology doesfor the sense of touch what computer graphics does for vision.”
The monitor makes use of haptic technology to let users
The monitor makes use of haptic technology to let users "feel" the hardness of objects

This is done through the use of a robotic arm that "pushes" back from inside wherever users touch it. The force of these pushes vary according to the object on the screen. "The force-feedback monitor responds to convey the sensation of different materials:  The stone block “feels” hard to the touch and requires more force to push, while the sponge block is soft and easy to push,"reads the blog post.

Along with haptic technology, Microsoft is using 3D technology that tracks the user and automatically adjusts the angle and size of the object being displayed. This gives it the illusion of depth. According to Microsoft Engineer Michel Pahud, this combined with haptic technology is enough “for your brain to accept the virtual world as real.”

Pahud goes on to describe the possible uses of this technology, such as in medicine. “I could see an image of the front of a brain,” says Pahud, “and pushing a finger through the layers of the brain to travel through the data. I could imagine receiving haptic feedback when you encountered an anomaly, such as a tumor, because we can change the haptic response based on what you touch.”

You could have different responses for when you touch soft tissue versus hard tissue, which makes for a very rich experience.

Driverless cars and OLED headlights by AUDI CES 2013

A car that drives itself through traffic jams and does the parking for you was showcased alongside shape-shifting OLED headlights by German car brand Audi at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Audi at CES 2013
Above: banks of LED headlights and indicators
Audi also unveiled electronics systems to integrate the car with services such as Google Maps and Google Earth View as well as social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Audi at CES 2013
Piloted driving will soon allow drivers to let the car take control when stuck in a traffic jam, Audi engineers believe.
Audi at CES 2013
Above: OLED technology creates a continuous light surface
The self-driving technology will be able to stop and start the vehicle in slow-moving traffic, as well as manoeuvring it in and out of parking spaces.
Audi at CES 2013
Cars could also be networked to alert each other to hazards such as icy roads or heavy traffic, Audi suggests, while communication with traffic lights would enable the vehicle to drive itself through green lights.
Audi at CES 2013
LED headlights are already available in many car models, but at CES 2013Audi unveiled its Matrix LED system, which uses a camera to detect the road and vehicles ahead so that it can swivel its headlights or lower the intensity of the beam when needed.
Audi at CES 2013
Above: LED headlights that can bend and swivel
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology would also turn the car's rear into a continuous light surface with many tiny points moving together like a shoal of fish. The lights would flow to the right when the car turns right or flow rapidly forwards when it brakes, for example.
Audi at CES 2013
Last month Dezeen filmed a movie that showed how glowing walls, windows and furniture made from OLEDs could replace light bulbs and LEDs in homes.
Audi at CES 2013
We also recently reported that Audi is bringing its interior and exterior design studios together as part of its new design strategy.
Audi at CES 2013
Above: a customisable virtual display
Audi at CES 2013
Above: smartphone integration for maps and satellite views
Audi at CES 2013
Above: smartphone integration
Here's more information from Audi:

Audi at the CES 2013
“Electronics trends over the next decade” will be the banner for Audi’s presence at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which will be held in Las Vegas from January 8 to 11, 2013. At the world’s most important electronics trade show, the brand is presenting its technologies of today and its solutions for tomorrow. The spotlight will be on networking the car with its environment – with a particular focus on future piloted driving and mobile communications.
Audi will be showcasing a wide range of assistance systems already on offer that make driving more comfortable and safer. These assistance systems are closely integrated, providing them with a high degree of intelligence and outstanding capabilities. Tomorrow’s systems will be even smarter – they will reduce the driver’s workload should the driver so wish.
Piloted driving will be technical feasible before the decade is out – Audi will be showcasing what being caught up in a traffic jam will entail in future. In congested traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h (37.28 mph), Audi’s piloted driving helps the driver to steer the car within certain limits. It also accelerates and brakes the vehicle autonomously. In future, piloted driving will also be able to maneuver the vehicle autonomously into and out of parking spaces – such as in tight roadside parking spaces, in garages, or even in parking garages.
“At Audi you’d be hard pushed to find an innovation that isn’t related to electronics nowadays,” explains Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development. “These enable us to implement full networking. A defining feature of the last decade was that we integrated all the functions in the car. This decade will see us network the car seamlessly with the environment, under the Audi connect banner – with the driver, the Internet, the infrastructure, and with other vehicles.”

Audi connect services and technologies bring the Internet into the car and the car onto the Internet. For customers the new technology means greater comfort and greater driving pleasure. The new wireless communication standard Long Term Evolution (LTE) will soon support communications with the World Wide Web, opening up the possibility of high-speed transmission of large amounts of data.
Audi connect provides the driver with tailor-made services, ranging from navigation with Google Earth images and Google Maps Street View, through Audi online traffic information and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. In the new Audi A3 and in the Audi A3 Sportback the driver can have e-mails read aloud and dictate (SMS) text messages. Audi intends to expand this range of services further.
Audi is working flat out on new operating and display concepts – concepts like the freely programmable instrument cluster. The driver can switch around the virtual displays to suit their own requirements. Visually they are barely distinguishable from the physical instruments, but provide much more flexibility.
The brand also has new technology for hi-fi aficionados – 3-D sound brings a three-dimensional, large acoustic stage to in-car music playback. This inspirational technology can be experienced in the “Audi Q7 sound concept” directly in the vehicle and on the booth.
The architecture of the modular infotainment platform enables for the first time hardware components to be kept constantly up to date with minimal effort.
For many years Audi has been a leading brand in terms of lighting technology - at present LED headlights are available in many model series. Electrics/electronics also pave the way for major development advances in this technology area. The lighting on tomorrow’s Audi models will react actively to environmental conditions, thus increasing active safety further.
Audi has developed a broad spectrum of expertise in all areas of vehicle electronics, thus enabling it to explore new ways of co-operating with its suppliers. As part of the Progressive Semi Conductor Program (PSCP) seven semiconductor manufacturers have acquired the status of strategic partners and are therefore integrated into development.
“In all our technical areas the innovation cycles are short, and the competition is cut-throat,” says Ricky Hudi, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development. “At Audi we see that as an obligation to become even more progressive, more agile, and more innovative.”

World's first solar-powered family car to race across Australia

News: students at the Eindhoven University of Technology have unveiled what they claim to be the world's first solar-powered family car.
Called Stella, and resembling a squashed, wingless aeroplane, the vehicle can seat four people and can travel up to 600 kilometres, powered by solar panels mounted on the roof.
The vehicle has been developed to take part in the new Cruiser Class category of the World Solar Challenge - a biannual 3,000km race race through the Australian outback from Darwin to Adelaide.
This new category will be introduced for the first time at this year's event, taking place from 6-13 October, to reflect the growing interest in commercially viable solar cars.
Solar-powered family car by Eindhoven University of Technology
Unlike the other categories, where speed is the main concern, the Cruiser Class is judged on criteria including comfort and usability. Cruiser Class vehicles must also carry a passenger as well as a driver.
"The design of the car of the future has to meet the needs of modern consumers," says Solar Team Eindhoven, which is based at Eindhoven University of Technology. "The car must be capable of transporting a family from the Netherlands to France in one day, it needs to be suitable for the daily commute to work, and it needs to achieve all this in comfort."
"Since the Solar Team Eindhoven wants to contribute to the development of a car of the future, the design demands more than just a focus on speed," the team adds. "Comfort, ease of use, and feasibility are all key terms."
The carbon and aluminium car features a buttonless, touchscreen dashboard and a responsive steering wheel that expands or contracts according to your speed.
Solar-powered family car by Eindhoven University of Technology
Solar panels on the car's roof will generate around half the energy it requires, with the remaining power coming from solar recharging stations.
Solar Team Eindhoven's website provides more details of the World Solar Challenge race. "A large part of the energy to be used will be collected by solar cells as we travel," it says. "During the race, there are only three opportunities to recharge the relatively small battery, which means the car has to be able to independently drive a minimum of 750 kilometers on electric energy. Besides the issue of energy and its management, navigation, safety and support will be essential.
"Once the race starts in Darwin, the teams are permitted to drive until 5.00 p.m. in the afternoon. After that, they have to set up camp in the outback and be ready to leave again at 8.00 a.m. The teams must be completely self reliant and must reach all seven checkpoints."
Photos are by Bart van Overbeeke/TU Eindhoven.
Here's some info from Eindhoven University of Technology:

TU/e student team unveils world’s first solar-powered family car
Solar Team Eindhoven starts World Solar Challenge in Australia with four-seater family car
The Solar Team Eindhoven (STE) of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) presented the world’s first solar-powered family car today. ‘Stella’ is the first ‘energy-positive car’ with room for four people, a trunk, intuitive steering and a range of 600 kilometers. This is the car being entered by the student team in the Cruiser class of the World Solar Challenge that starts in Australia in October 2013.
A car that produces electricity
The solar cells of ‘Stella’- Latin for star and also a reference to the family character of the car – generate more electricity on average than the car uses and that means the surplus electricity can be returned to the power grid, thereby making the car ‘energy-positive’.
The car of the future
Solar Team Eindhoven has set itself the goal of developing the car of the future. By combining aerodynamic design with lightweight materials like carbon and aluminum, a very fuel-efficient car has been designed, which also has ingenious applications like a LED strip and touchscreen that make all the buttons and knobs we know today superfluous. Intuitive driving is enabled by a steering wheel that expands or contracts when you are driving too fast or too slowly. STE will have the car officially certified for road use to prove that this really is a fully-fledged car.
World Solar Challenge
University teams from all over the world will be competing in a 3,000 km long race through the Australian outback. Solar Team Eindhoven is taking part in the Cruiser class in which the emphasis lies on practical and user-friendly solar cars rather than on speed. The ‘solar race’ takes place from 6 to 13 October 2013. Back in the Netherlands there will be a tour of high schools to promote engineering and science in education.
The engineer of tomorrow
Thanks to Solar Team Eindhoven entry, TU/e is represented for the first time in the Solar World Challenge. A multidisciplinary team (with 22 students from six different TU/e departments) has spent a year on this project that involves challenges from the fields of energy and mobility. Cooperation with industry has given the students an opportunity to become familiar with top-notch entrepreneurship, thereby underlining TU/e’s vision of educating the engineer of tomorrow. TU/e professors prof.dr. Elena Lomonova and Maarten Steinbuch are members of the steering group.
Eindhoven  University of Technology
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a research-driven, design-oriented technology university with a strong international focus. The university was founded in 1956 and has around 7,200 students and 3,000 staff. TU/e is geared to the societal challenges posed in the areas of Energy, Health and Smart Mobility.

Friday, 24 May 2013

How Google Glass Could Augment Our Realities and Memories

Wearable technology and AR pioneer Thad Starner on how Google Glass could augment our realities and our memories
Countless wearers of Google Glass stalked the halls of this year's Google I/O developer conference, but only a lucky few were sporting the prescription model, which makes room for lenses in a more conventional glasses frame. Among those lucky early adopters with imperfect vision was Thad Starner, a Georgia Tech professor who, in 2010, was recruited to join a top-secret project at Google's fabled X Lab. That project, as it turned out, was Glass, and Starner's role on the team as a technical lead would be a vital one.
Starner invented the term "augmented reality" in 1990 and, after experimenting with wearable technologies for 20 years now, offered us a rare perspective on where the stuff has been and where it's headed. So, then, we were very glad to get a few moments to chat with the man at I/O and get his insight into how we got to be where we are and, indeed, get some suggestions from him on where we're going from here.
Wearable technology and AR pioneer Thad Starner on how Google Glass could augment our realities and our memories
Starner says he's been wearing computer devices of some form or another daily for the past 20 years, a claim that few others can make. Before becoming an assistant professor at Georgia Tech, he founded MIT's Wearable Computing Project. It's in these years that he made the acquaintance of a pair of grad students named Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The group had discussions about the future of search and, given Starner's tech persuasions, how wearables might fit in to that:
We talked about how it would make you more powerful if you could have web search on your eyeball ... One of the problems was simply making a search engine that was good enough that the right hit was in the first four links, versus AltaVista which was the first 14 links. That took way too long to navigate.
They went their separate ways, Starner continuing to refine his wearable prototypes while Page and Brin built themselves a little search engine. After about a decade, Starner thought that it was time to reconnect:
About 2010, I sent Sergey an email saying, "Now that you guys are doing Android and you're doing these phones, you should really take a look at the wearable computing technology that we've been working on in academia. Why don't you come out to Atlanta and I'll show this stuff to you?" Next thing I know I'm on a plane out [to Google Headquarters] to join the Glass team. They had the same kind of thoughts. The time was right. The next thing you know I'm working on it too, making the early prototypes.

The term "augmented reality" comes from Starner's earlier work, a 1990 fellowship proposal. (Fun fact: this wasn't actually Starner's preferred term. "Artificial reality" had already been used by Timothy Leary to describe a drug-induced state.) However, his concept of a life augmented by technology is rather different than the "AR" that we generally think of when describing things like the Layar browser.
Starner's term for augmented reality simply referred to "information .....................

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Plane You Can Park in the Garage:Video

Steen Strand and Kirk Hawkins, founders of ICON Aircraft, describe the features of their groundbreaking A5 light-sport aircraft. They show video demonstrating the personal aircraft handles more like a Jet Ski than a Cessna.


Kirk and Steen speak to design's power to unleash new markets. They tell the story of how ICON Aircraft set out to maximize the vast potential of the FAA's regulatory changes by creating, for the first time, a recreational powersport for flying.

They discuss the challenges in the development of the ICON A5, an airplane that makes flying more accessible, safer, and more enticing than ever before. - IDEO Know How Talks

Before graduating from Stanford Business School in 2005 and founding ICON, Kirk Hawkins flew F-16s in the U.S. Air Force and 767s for American Airlines. Prior to the USAF, he worked in both aviation and aerospace engineering most of his early career.

After earning his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University, he was the Director of Engineering at an aerospace contractor before returning for his Masters in Engineering from Stanford University in 1995, specializing in manufacturing.

Steen Strand is a seasoned sports product entrepreneur with 14 years of hands-on operational startup experience. Strand's expertise is in product design, marketing and brand building. Early in his career he worked at IDEO, one of the world's leading design consultancies before founding Freebord, a skateboard company with a global subculture of fanatical riders.

He later served as COO and Director of Product at Secara, a funded healthcare startup. Steen received his MS in Product Design from Stanford University, where he periodically instructs courses in Product Design. Steen's designs have been featured in numerous TV shows, websites and magazines, including Time, Forbes, Newsweek and Wired.